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Sharon Richens Named One of Insurance Business Elite Women 2024

Altius Group is proud to announce that Sharon Richens, Head of Customer, has been named one of the Insurance Business Elite Women 2024. This prestigious award honours exceptional female leaders who have significantly contributed to the insurance industry throughout Australia and New Zealand. 

The judges carefully considered Sharon's contributions using a number of important factors, including:

  1. Professional Accomplishments
  2. Promoting Women
  3. Leadership in Professional Associations
  4. Overall Achievements

Sharon's consistent commitment to education, innovation, strategic thinking, and ceaseless efforts to contribute to the insurance sector have earned her a rightful position as one of the finest in the business. 

Derick Borean, Altius Group Founding Director, adds a layer of depth to Sharon’s influence: 

“Over three decades, Sharon has spent a professional lifetime paving the way for the next generation of insurance professionals; influencing colleagues, stakeholders and customers alike. Her expertise in the personal injury insurance sector is second to none. She can seamlessly navigate the very real health impacts of injury and illness on individuals and their families, with the complex commercial needs of insurers and their stakeholders.” 

Sharon is passionate about promoting workplace wellbeing, developing employee resilience programs, and implementing best practice injury management strategies. She has not only excelled in her career but has also dedicated herself to improving the lives of countless individuals through her work in the insurance industry. 

Bryan McGrath, General Manager for Insurer Partnerships at Altius Group, highlights Sharon’s visionary approach that helps fuel innovation in the industry: 

“Sharon’s innovative mindset has resulted in transformative changes that have not only improved the insurance experience of Occupational Rehabilitation but have also made it more accessible and effective for all parties involved.  

Her commitment to high-quality allied health outcomes is evident in every aspect of her work. She understands the unique needs and challenges of vulnerable workers and is dedicated to crafting insurance solutions that genuinely benefit them.  

Her tireless efforts to align the interests of employers and insurers with the wellbeing of these individuals exemplify her ethical and compassionate approach to her work.” 

Sharon is an experienced physiotherapist currently pursuing a Master of Mental Health at Southern Cross University to become a skilled and qualified mental health professional committed to ensuring the best outcomes for those in need.

Thought Leader

Sharon's influence extends far beyond her role as a physiotherapist. She has become a highly sought-after speaker, sharing her expertise and knowledge at various conferences and events across Australia. 

At the 2023 Northern Territory Insurance Conference, she gave a presentation on “Leveraging Insurer-Employer Collaboration for Improved Injured Worker Health and Claims Outcomes“ which has been highly acclaimed and cited by industry colleagues and event participants.  

Her speaking engagement at the Safe Bodies Safe Minds Conference in 2023 on "Understanding the Factors that Impact Return to Work Following Mental Injury Claims" further highlights her influence in the sector.  

Derick weighs in on Sharon’s industry contributions: 

“Sharon carries a deep sincerity and transparency in her dealings. She is a known and trusted source of knowledge and an expert resource for colleagues and clients alike, right across the insurance sector. As a result, she can influence policy, procedures and practices throughout organisations in the sector. Her pragmatic approach yields exceptional outcomes for the sector and for consumers of personal injury insurance services.  

This rare ability to create a win-win outcome has seen broad success. Sharon’s role has expanded her influence right across Australia, working in the sector throughout the east coast of the county, from QLD and NSW, through Tasmania, the ACT and NT, into South Australia and WA. Sharon delves deep into customer challenges, work collaboratively to co-design solutions, gains consensus, then follows through to ensure success. She is the consummate insurance professional, and deeply deserving of an award recognising her elite capability.” 

In the past years, Sharon has collaborated with Happy Body At Work (HBAW) as a Wellness Consultant and Partner of ABC Commercial, successfully delivering an award-winning multi-media, 8-week workplace resilience program to over 18,000 individuals in organisations such as ASX, Optus, Sydney Trains, PWC, CommBank, and the University of Sydney. Her implementation of the Happy People Program across Victoria, specifically tailored for nurses and midwives, showcases her dedication to promoting health and wellbeing in a variety of workplace settings. 

Non-Profit Leadership and Volunteer Work

Beyond her professional accomplishments, Sharon is deeply committed to her local community, displaying a genuine passion for rural health. She generously volunteered as part of a medical team in Tanzania at The School of St Jude, conducting medical checks on over 1800 children in 2015. Her commitment to the wellbeing of her community extends to her role as the Chairperson of the 2023 Board of the Young Regional Conservatorium Incorporated. This organisation serves as a cornerstone for the Hilltops community of Southern New South Wales, enriching its musical, cultural, and artistic life. 

In addition to her numerous professional and community contributions, Sharon also serves as a committee member at Margaret House, an organisation providing emergency accommodation for victims of domestic violence and those facing homelessness due to crises.

March will see the online publication of the Insurance Business Elite Woman special report 2024 in honour of International Women's Day. We wish Sharon well on her merited honour and are excited to see how she continues to influence the insurance sector. 

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